Artist: Corb Lund
Hometown: Taber, Alberta, Canada
Latest Album: Agricultural Tragic (June 26, 2020)
Personal nicknames (or rejected band names): My full name is Corby. My outfit sometimes calls me ‘El Presidente’. Ian Tyson calls me ‘Corbo.’
What other art forms — literature, film, dance, painting, etc — inform your music?
I read a lot and that seeps in for sure. At a pretty granular level, but it definitely has a big impact. I’m a history nut also. When I was younger I used to draw and paint quite a lot, but there’s no time for that stuff anymore, too busy touring. I’d also like to try live theatre. Some other lifetime, probably.
What’s the toughest time you ever had writing a song?
It took me about five years to write “Bible on the Dash.” I had to recruit my old buddy Hayes [Carll] to help me finish it. I had a verse and chorus FOREVER and I was stuck. When Hayes got hold of it we wrapped up the rest in a couple hours.
What rituals do you have, either in the studio or before a show?
The few hours between soundcheck and the show are pretty important to me. The venue and the green room are empty because everyone is out eating, so that’s my only real time on the road to work on my voice or new songs or guitar playing. I jealously guard it. And I don’t really eat food anyway and dislike restaurants.
If you had to write a mission statement for your career, what would it be?
Two things. First, I’ve always been very committed to doing my own thing musically. I’ve always wanted to be able to look back at a solid body of unique work and be proud of it. It’s important to me to get my voice and perspective and culture into my music at all levels. Secondly, to just roll up my sleeves and do things myself. I have plenty of excellent help now, but in the earlier, leaner part of my career I swore that I’d never wait around on the music industry. I just made my own records and booked my own tours and printed my own T-shirts and fixed up my own van. Unless you win the record deal lottery at 22, no one’s going to do that stuff for you. There’s a grand tradition of that, from SNFU to Chris LeDoux.
Which elements of nature do you spend the most time with and how do those impact your work?
I spend as much time as I can on our family ranch in foothills of the Alberta Rockies. My great grandfather homesteaded there in 1898 and it’s a huge part of my psyche and my art. That area comes up pretty often in my songs. It’s pretty country.
Photo credit: Scott Slusher